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A Couple Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bthomas47, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. bthomas47

    bthomas47 Hatching

    Mar 22, 2013
    Hi guys! I was wondering if you guys could help me out with a couple questions. I'd rather have personal answers from here than to trust anything off google. I'm new to having chickens, in fact I don't have any yet. I'm getting my coop built and all my facts before I dive into it blind.

    First one is I live in Louisiana, I have read up all about when getting baby chicks and having them in the brooder (very useful tips & hints on here btw thanks) but I've noticed it seems the main reason is temperature control & wanting to keep the chicks nice and warm. I also noticed each week the temp can be lowered a little bit. So my actual question is, do my chicks have to stay inside the whole 6 weeks? It gets so warm down here that after a couple weeks it would be the right temp for them outside and actually chillier in my house with the air on....

    Second... I have looked into both local hatcheries and buying chicks online. It seems a lot easier to find the specific breeds I want online. So who has ordered their chicks online and have gotten a great experience? A bad experience? Any tips for this would help me out. When they're being mailed do they have a good chance of actually making it to your door or is the mortality rate high enough you should order extra chickens just in case?

    Thanks guys. I appreciate any responses

  2. chickanddoglvr

    chickanddoglvr In the Brooder

    Oct 7, 2010
    Cincinnati Oh
    Your chicks do not have to stay inside for the whole 6 weeks in my experience, if and only if, it is warm enough outside, AND you have a good coop which will keep out predators, drafts, and keep the chicks in. I would still use the light. Also you might just bring them inside at night if it gets cold, just make sure to check the temperature a bit more often. Secondly I have a hatcheries not far from where I live, so that where I get mine. I have never shipped them, but you usually there are no fatalities, and for you in particular because it is so warm down south. Hope this helps!:)
  3. jtbrown

    jtbrown Songster

    Mar 30, 2011
    Southeastern Ohio
    HI! And so glad you are here. I can answer some of your questions, but I have only ordered direct from the hatchery in very large group orders, shipped in bulk to the local feed mill and then distributed. So I can't answer all the mailing questions. I have looked at getting a mix of only the birds I want from hatcheries, but have never done it.

    Yes, the little guys can go outside sooner. BUT, still need the light for the first few weeks to have the heat. After 4 weeks or maybe a little longer, they can do pretty well out (I mean in a safe, enclosed chicken house, etc.) if the temps are not wildly cold. In fact, if not drafty, and had access to a heat lamp that kept a small area accessible to them warm, they could go out to chicken barn very quickly (separate from older chickens/animals of course). The brooder just kept outside instead of inside.

    I would not be happy having birds in the house for an entire 6 weeks. Unless they are bantums, they are really big by 6 weeks (relatively speaking), and they stir up much dust and dander. I don't like them in our basement (workshop type basement, no carpet, etc.) more than 3-4 weeks MAX, otherwise wooh, the smell even with frequent brooder cleaning. The first year we were not done with our coop right away, and had them in the house til nearly 5 weeks and it was too much, I did not like it. I did have quite a few birds, but still, I think you will want them outside before then.

    Hope this helps some, good luck, and have fun. I personally think chickens are great -- mostly because we get something out of them in addition to watching their funny antics. Eggs!
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Your chicks never have to go in the house if you have electricity in your coop or an outbuilding. With all the dust, noise, and potential smell, many of us would wind up divorced if we tried to raise the chicks in the house.

    I guess the way to answer your question is to talk about guidelines. Things like that 90 to 95 degrees the first week and dropping it 5 degrees a week are not laws of nature. They are general guidelines for people that have no experience with chickens. They will keep most people out of trouble under most conditions. A lot of us with experience violate many of the guidelines all the time without problems, but we know what conditions really matter.

    My brooder is in my coop. There have been times in cold weather that I leave the heat on day and night for 5 weeks. Last summer in our triple digit heat wave I turned the heat off at 2 days during daytime and the overnight heat off after 5 nights. By their actions they told me they did not need it, and they were fine. But if I didn’t have the experience I would not have turned the heat off after 5 nights.

    What I suggest if you can manage it at all is to build a big brooder outside or maybe just use your coop as a brooder. Rig up a heat source in one area so you don’t burn it down and keep one area warm enough. You don’t have to follow that 5 degrees a week drop. Keep that area warmer than it should be. But make sure they have plenty of room to get far away from that heat if it is too hot. Make sure there are areas in that brooder that are cooler than it is supposed to be. They will find where they want to be. You’ll see that they are all over that brooder, warm and cool areas. They will go back to the heat if they need to warm up.

    The vast majority of chicks that are shipped arrive healthy and alive. Some of the hatcheries we buy from hatch 80,000 to 100,000 chicks a week in season. With that many chicks, of course you will occasionally get some horror stories. But the vast majority will arrive alive.

    What you can do to help that out is to order them from a hatchery that is reasonably close to you, maybe Ideal in Texas or Cackle in Missouri. Try to order them from somewhere to cut the shipping time. Try to avoid ordering during extreme weather or temperatures, whether hot or cold. Try to get them shipped early enough in the week so they don’t arrive on a weekend. Avoid postal holidays. The number of posts about problems with shipped chicks on here goes up a bunch around postal holidays.
  5. bthomas47

    bthomas47 Hatching

    Mar 22, 2013
    Thank you guys. These are all great answers. And I'll look into the closer hatcheries [​IMG]

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